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Copyright of Google Page Renderings

George R [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
13 years ago2,679 views

Philipp recently blogged about "Google Preferred Sites Experiment".
The forum thread for it began discussing a tangent about copyrights.
I think that tangent is a complicated issue deserving its own thread here.

The blog was linked to an image of a cropped and partially blurred screen shot of a rendering of a Google page. Google's logo is not within the cropped area. There is no Google copyright notice within the cropped area. The screen shot image is said to be attributed to Ionut, a third party, and distributed via a creative commons license requiring attribution. Google's page includes a list. Presumably those specific items in the list were not fixed at the time that a person originally authored the page or its template.

Can Google legitimately claim copyright to the original rendering of that page other than their logo? We are discussing the rendering not the HTML code itself.
Can either Google or Ionut legitimately claim copyright to the cropped page?
Can either Google or Ionut legitimately claim copyright to the screen shot image?
Can Ionut legitimately release it under this Creative Commons license?
Can Philipp legitimately redistribute it under that license?
Does the jurisdiction make a difference?

A separate, but related issue, is whether Google can legitimately claim copyright to automatically generated pages that principally show portions of third party pages, third party search requests, second party search requests or second party configuration.

Note there are already some comments about this in the other thread.


Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

As I said in the other thread:

By the way, Google explicitly allows you making screenshots of their products...
"The one instance when you don't need to ask our permission is when you want to use a standard, unaltered Google screenshot in a print (book, magazine, journal, newspaper) or electronic (web page, DVD, CD) format for an instructive or illustrative purpose." (
That still doesn't answer by itself whether it's now "Ionut's image" or still Google's.

And I'm also still curious about the general issue of using screenshots...

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